A third case of a parasite infection that can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms has been reported in the Kansas City area, Missouri health officials said Tuesday.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said it was working with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine whether the three Kansas City area cyclospora infections and two other cases in Taney and Miller counties were linked to a nationwide outbreak. More than 600 people in 20 states have been sickened by cyclospora infections this summer. Four cases have been identified in Kansas. Iowa, Texas and Nebraska have accounted for most of the cases.
People can be infected by consuming food or water contaminated with the parasite, which is most commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions. Nebraska and Iowa health officials have linked restaurant-associated infections in their states to a packaged salad mix. The CDC has not determined whether this is the source of infections in other states.
The first two Missouri cyclospora infections, one in Jackson County and the other in Taney County, were reported in July. The other local cases were reported this month by Kansas City area health care providers.
Cyclospora infects the small intestine and may cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and flu-like symptoms. It can be treated with a combination of antibiotics.